Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away Sept 18, 2020 and the news sent many within our LGBTQIA+ circles into a deep state of loss.

Justice Ginsburg has been a mighty force for justice and equality, and has been especially dear to the LGBTQIA+ community and to those who fight for their rights and freedoms. She has spent her career being the voice of the marginalized, having the courage, tenacity, and strength to continue on when so many become tired in their activism or their voices of the oppressed become quieted.

She was tiny but mighty. One of many allies that we will continue to stand on the shoulders of as we move forward to creating a world that is kinder and safer for all.

The Free Mom Hugs organization feels the loss of Justice Ginsburg deeply. Board President, Lindsey Miller said, “Justice Ginsburg wasn’t just a champion of equality, she truly was a champion of justice. She lived and breathed the tenets of The Supreme Court of our nation. Just as we hope all of those who serve our highest court should. All Americans are better because of her service. And we, at Free Mom Hugs will forever be aspiring to walk in her footsteps.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When There are Nine

Justice Ginsburg graduated at the top of her class from the Columbia School of Law, founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU and argued cases of women’s rights and gender justice before the Supreme Court. She has empowered and encouraged so many women to strive for no less than equality in their careers and families.

She was known to say, “Women belong in all the places decisions are being made.” She was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and was later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, becoming only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. When asked when she thought there would be enough women on the Supreme Court she responded, “When there are nine.”

“The 300 gender discrimination cases which she fought as a lawyer, as well as the landmark opinions on gender and sexual orientation which she made as a Supreme Court Justice, are the cornerstones of her lifelong career. From her proudly worn ‘dissent collar’ to her quite literal and fiery dissent in 2013 on the Court majority’s ruling of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Ginsburg has been a pillar of civil liberties and human rights. Her presence on the bench, in the movement and in this world will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, RBG. Today, we-and the world-lost a true giant.” – Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean

Equality for All

The latest Supreme Court ruling, June 15, 2020, Bostock v. Clayton County, which found LGBTQ discrimination was a form of sex discrimination, and thus illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Was a historic ruling for the LGBTQIA+ community and for those who invest in advocating on their behalf. The ruling granted protection to LGBTQIA+ people wherever there are laws against sex discrimination, including employment, education, health care and housing. Shannon Minter, legal director for the national Center for Lesbian Rights, said, ”Although the former U.S. Associate Anthony Kennedy and U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch were the authors of major LGBTQ rights from the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was the most important voice for LGBT people.” (Washington Blade)

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President, and a friend of Free Mom Hugs said,

“Today, we lost an unqualified, undisputed hero. She wasn’t just an iconic jurist, Justice Ginsburg was a force for good —a force for bringing this country closer to delivering on its promise of equality for all. Her decades of work helped create many of the foundational arguments for gender equality in the United States, and her decisions from the bench demonstrated her commitment to LGBTQ equality. She was and will remain an inspiration to young people everywhere, a pop culture icon as the Notorious RBG and a giant in the firth for a more just nation for all. We extend our deepest condolence to her family and loved ones. What she represented – fairness, justice and equality for all – we must all continue to fight for. Those principles are not transactional, they fundamental to our democracy.”

Love is Love is Love

On a subject near and dear to our hearts, Justice Ginsburg was a champion for same-sex marriage. In fact, she was the first Supreme Court justice to ever perform a same-sex wedding, shortly after she helped bring the landmark, 2013 decision to make same-sex marriage legal in the United States. She officiated for Ralph Pellecchio and Dr. James Carter Wernz. Pellechio had actually been a former student of Justice Ginsburg’s at Columbia Law School. The couple had been together more than 30 years before they asked Justice Ginsburg if she would be interested in officiating for them. Both men honestly didn’t expect her to reply to their request but she did right away, asking to help pick the date. She even offered to help the couple write their wedding vows.

Justice Ginsburg and her steadfast belief in equality have made it possible for LGBTQ couples to create their own families, and start their own traditions.

Founder Sara Cunningham , no stranger to same-sex weddings, was heartbroken at the news of her passing. She knows full well the rights that the LGBTQ community has not always had, beginning when she realized that her straight son had more rights than her gay son.

In response to the sad news, Sara said, “Though I did not know Ruth Bader Ginsburg personally, she knew me. She knew my family, and the community we serve through Free Mom Hugs. It was evident with everything she did. She showed up like her hair was on FIRE. I like that!”

Justice Ginsburg has been on the frontlines of change and equality for all marginalized people, but we certainly see her hands within the freedoms the LGBTQ community currently embrace and enjoy.

She has fought tirelessly for the rights of all people to live, and love and experience happiness in their home country of the United States of America. Her tenacity reminded Americans to value the LGBTQ community as valuable citizens. And in doing so, she encouraged the LGBTQ community to believe that they actually deserved those rights, and that those rights were worth fighting for. We hope, here at Free Mom Hugs, that we can continue in her place to be bold and brave, and use our voice for those who have been quieted. The time is now to press harder in our mission to educate and advocate on behalf of our LGBTQ family and friends. And to work together to make this world a kinder, safer place for all.


Proud Mama Bear

Free Mom Hugs founder, Sara Cunningham celebrates her birthday this month, and we at Free Mom Hugs can’t help but celebrate all she has done for the organization, but also for families, and the LGBTQIA+ communities as well. Sara works tirelessly being a supportive presence for those needing someone to talk to, come out to, she even has been known to talk to unsupportive parents when a heartbroken person needs some help communicating.

Her passion remains that parents and LGBTQIA+ kids have authentic relationships. She is honest and vulnerable in regards to her own regrets in her reactions when Parker tried to come out. And she spends her days, trying to be the mom now, that she needed to be back then. She has not only changed so many lives, but there is no doubt along the way she has saved lives.

Her passionate work with Free Mom Hugs is changing the social norm in how the world sees the LGBTQIA+ community. And how this same community sees themselves.

Now We Get To Celebrate Sara

As we celebrate Sara’s birthday, and how grateful we all are for her being on this planet with us, we are doing something a little special.

Sara will be 57 on Sept 9, and to honor her we want 57 new recurring donors to join the movement and be a supporting force to continue driving our mission.

We need monthly, recurring donors(click here) to help us plan for our education programs, advocacy work, and the support of Chapters across the country. For every $25/month or more commitment, we will send you our Special Edition, 2020 Pride T-shirt. We are so grateful for your contributions and want you to know, every amount matters a great deal to us.

We value your time, talent and treasure as we all work together to make the world a kinder, safer place for all.

Sara making birthday wishes

Making Changes One Hug At A Time

Sara has been keeping the mission of Free Mom Hugs going during this complicated time of Covid 19, social distancing and quarantines. She continues to educate and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ communities through podcasts, GSA’s, and doing corporate sensitivity trainings. Sara has had more opportunities to speak at colleges as well this year.

It’s been wonderful for her to be a part of the next generation getting educated on LGBTQ history, as she recaps the past Free Mom Hugs Tours. She has been able to explain Stonewall and Marsha P Johnson’s influence, the courage and tenacity of Harvey Milk, and the heart break of Matthew Shepards murder which led to the nation’s first hate crime legislation. She has been able to use this time to educate on how much progress has been made, but also empower everyone to continue pressing on for the work that still needs to be done.

Sara and Parker joining Norman North High School GSA

Standing In

Sara is also still able to officiate weddings and be a stand-in as well. Many have been virtual experiences, or safe and socially distanced. But the need for support has not gone away and Sara gladly steps up when others chose to step out. For her, these are bittersweet moments, as she takes the opportunity as an honor, but knows and feels the pain of couples when a parent should be there celebrating this special day as well.

Snail Mail

And we all have enjoyed a new way to connect with Sara: Snail Mail! With so many Pride events cancelled, Sara has been able to reach out to folks with phone calls and cards, to encourage, comfort and support so many of you. And she has received so much of the same in return as she receives your letters and is so inspired by your stories.

Sara’s weekly Snail Mail videos

Care Packages

This month, Sara was able to be a part of our Care Package campaign. What better way to to give a long distance hug, then through sending a care package. We have received so many wonderful messages from the recipients and how much it meant to them to feel thought of and remembered. One special instance came late one evening when Sara was home cooking her beef stroganoff for dinner. Someone received their care package and was cooking the very same recipe Sara included in the care package recipe book. They were able to share a phone call, share cooking tips and talk together. As Sara says, ” It was like having dinner with a friend.”

Better together

Because of all of our wonderful donors we have been able to accomplish this great work. And finding 57 new recurring donors to join the movement will help us continue to grow.

We can’t lie, this has been a trying year for all non-profits, but we want to fight to be here for the long haul. And we can’t do it without you.

Our 2020 Special Edition Pride Shirt is a little thank you from us to you for becoming a recurring donor at $25/month and more.

We are so grateful for your contributions and want you to know, every amount matters a great deal to us. We value your time, talent and treasure as we all work together to make the world a kinder, safer place for all.

Sara and Parker in our Special Edition 2020 shirts
Chapter Resources
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